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Old 02-13-2007, 03:02 PM   #16
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Originally posted by LyricalDrug
But these articles tend to divert attention from the root cause, which is the lack of a comprehensive national health care system that protects the poor.
Maybe these articles, and the accompanying photos in today's Times, will make people realize how fucked up things are. And maybe when the issue of a national health care system comes up again, it won't be shot down. Again.

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Old 02-13-2007, 03:41 PM   #17
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States and U.S. at Odds on Aid for Uninsured

New York Times, February 13, 2007

WASHINGTON — In the absence of federal action, governors and state legislators around the country are transforming the nation’s health care system, putting affordable health insurance within reach of millions of Americans in hopes of reversing the steady rise in the number of uninsured, now close to 47 million. But the states appear to be on a collision course with the Bush administration, whose latest budget proposals create a huge potential obstacle to their efforts to expand coverage. While offering to work with states by waiving requirements of federal law, the Bush administration has balked at state initiatives that increase costs to the federal government.

State efforts have almost invariably begun with children, building on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is jointly financed by the federal and state governments. Many states are eager to expand eligibility for that program, and some are going far beyond the income levels deemed appropriate by the White House. In his budget last week, President Bush said he wanted to return the program to its “original objective” of covering children with family incomes less than twice the poverty level...A family of four is considered poor if its annual income is less than $20,650.

...In California, as part of a plan to cover all state residents, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, proposed increasing the income limit for the children’s insurance program to 300% of the poverty level, from 250%.

The movement to expand coverage is by no means limited to children any more...Officials cite a groundswell of state activity:
--Arkansas, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee have new laws and programs to reduce the cost of insurance for small employers.
--Massachusetts and Vermont passed laws in 2006 to achieve universal or nearly universal coverage, while addressing the cost and quality of care.
--Several states, including Colorado and Delaware, are requiring insurers to cover young adults, the fastest-growing segment of the uninsured population.

“We have a goal that all Minnesotans should be covered by health insurance,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, said in an address to the State Legislature last month. In New York State, the Children’s Health Insurance Program covers 385,000 children, of whom 55,000 have family incomes above 200% of the poverty level. Another 50,000 children would be eligible under Governor Spitzer’s proposal to increase the income ceiling. The federal government now pays 65% of the cost of coverage for each child in New York’s program, or $1,154 a year out of a cost of $1,776. Judith Arnold, the program’s director, said Monday that under the President’s proposal, the federal contribution would be reduced by $266 a child. So, she said, New York would lose $14.6 million a year.

Knowing they cannot count on a major infusion of federal money, some states are looking to their own revenue sources, including tobacco taxes, pools of money set aside for charity care and uncompensated care, and assessments levied on employers who do not provide health benefits to their workers...State efforts face several potential pitfalls. The cost of coverage could spin out of control. An economic downturn could reduce states’ fiscal capacity. Moreover, a federal law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, could block any state program that requires employers to alter their health plans.

In Washington, health policy debates highlight the ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats over the proper role of government in helping the uninsured. Governors and state legislators tend to be more pragmatic. “There is such a political divide in Washington that many people believe that the only reasonable chance to succeed is at the state level,” said Jeffrey S. Crowley, a senior research scholar at the Health Policy Institute of Georgetown University.

Soaring health costs are placing pressures on employers and employees alike. In recent weeks, companies like Wal-Mart have joined labor unions and consumer groups in coalitions espousing universal coverage. In his State of the Union address on Jan. 23, Mr. Bush proposed a new tax deduction to help people buy health insurance outside the workplace, and he said he wanted to help “states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured.” In his budget, Mr. Bush said the way to transform the health care system was by “subsidizing the purchase of private insurance,” not by expanding public programs in a way that would increase costs to the federal government. To slow the growth of Medicare and Medicaid, Mr. Bush asked Congress to squeeze tens of billions of dollars from the programs.

Mr. Bush’s efforts, combined with the flurry of state activity, have forced Congress to face fundamental questions about the Children’s Health Insurance Program: If states run out of money, should the federal government bail them out? Should states be allowed to use the money to cover adults? More than a dozen states expect to exhaust their allotments of federal money in the next few months, raising the possibility that children will be removed from the rolls. Georgia and New Jersey, for example, said they would run out of money by May.

White House officials said that some states had strayed from the purpose of the program in another way, by covering adults. Mr. Bush wants to prohibit states from adding childless adults to the rolls. And he would restrict eligibility for parents. Jason A. Helgerson, policy director for the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, said, “There is strong empirical evidence that when you cover adults and children, you get more kids covered.” In Wisconsin, the Children’s Health Insurance Program covers 36,900 parents and 29,800 children, Mr. Helgerson said.

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Old 02-13-2007, 04:46 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Justin24
How would Universal Health Care work in a nation were the pharmysutical companies run everything?
They don't run everything...the HMOs and other health organizations have an equal role in ruining things. The government does it's part too.
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Old 02-13-2007, 05:40 PM   #19
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I'm not stating the current system is functioning well or at all right now, but univeral healthcare through the government is not the answer either. Increased government intervention to cover everyone will either bankrupt the middle class with mandatory insurance payments that keep rising or it will cause rationing. The second problem is so prevalent in Europe, that they are actually instituting market reforms across the continent in various forms to cover all of the people who can't get treatment. Most of the systems are going broke across the pond. It is less than the ideal that some promote. Not to mention that a lot of research will be stifled because there will be no money available.
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Old 02-13-2007, 05:44 PM   #20
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.... or money to be made.

Having the rich pay huge money to get the best definitely yields benefits if you can pay.
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Old 02-13-2007, 07:52 PM   #21
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Simple way to pay for universal health care: raise taxes. And it shouldn't even be that bad, since you'd be cutting out a huge chunk of fat be elimination the middleman (insurance/HMO's). The idea that it can't be done is one of those myths that the right like to throw around (we'll go bankrupt/you'll have to WAIT/blah blah blah). Well guess what, there's already a good chunk of the population that has to wait...forever.

Obviously there will be problems, maybe rationing is the answer. Weed out the hypochondriacs (spelling?) and drug-seekers. Right now the uninsured are forced to get the most expensive care (the ER), because the ER can't turn them away...of course if they're uninsured they're probably poor, and can't pay - how screwed up is that? Get everyone covered and watch the non-emergency ER traffic drop.
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Old 02-13-2007, 07:57 PM   #22
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Originally posted by randhail
Not to mention that a lot of research will be stifled because there will be no money available.
I don't necessarily think this is true.

Canada has universal health care and it has not stifled research. You always have government grants (which are not that great to begin with) and you always have private grants. Our lab was kept afloat largely because of private sector funding, and often US dollars from US companies.

There is some incredible research being done outside of the US in nations with universal health care. Certainly too much to jump to the conclusion that a lot of it would suddenly be stifled.
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:07 PM   #23
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Originally posted by CTU2fan
Simple way to pay for universal health care: raise taxes. And it shouldn't even be that bad, since you'd be cutting out a huge chunk of fat be elimination the middleman (insurance/HMO's).
I'm no fan of having my taxes raised and will not stand for it. I'd rather take money from the $450 billion currently being spent in Iraq. I'd also tax cigarettes more and junk food before I raised taxes across the board. Unhealthy habits should not be rewarded with me footing the bill.

The insurance companies won't go down without a real war. Their lobbies are very strong and it would take a miracle for them to lose their cut. Honestly, I don't know who I'd rather have in charge of a universal healthcare system - it's like choosing between the gas chamber and the electric chair.

Personally, I'd love to go back to a pay as you go system. You'd really eliminate the middle man in this situation. It's actually coming back into popularity among physicians and patients now. Do I realistically think this will happen? No way, but it would be the best solution.
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:51 PM   #24
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she could have at least left him at the beach,with a beach chair and umbrella.
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:22 AM   #25
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Nobody cares about you if you don't have any money. Everyone is in it for money, everything is written off as a 'business desicion'. In the end it's only the cash that counts.
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:23 PM   #26
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Originally posted by randhail
This is F-ed up.... I have utmost sympathy to a homeless paraplegic guy who obviously needs to support a colostomy...


Do you force a McDonald to feed a homeless guy? Isn't food a necessity for life too? How can you force a hospital to take this guy..... The proper course is to find some sort of generous person or maybe a government program willing to donate money to put him in the hospital... not force a hospital to take him for free
This is precisely what is wrong with the attitude in the United States..."...not FORCE a hospital to take him for FREE" You have all been fed lie upon lie when it comes to your healthcare system. Just do the right thing and FINALLY institute UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE. It's the only way to go. The government OWES YOU THAT PEOPLE...WAKE UP FOR GOD'S SAKE!!! They've been stealing your hard earned money for hundreds of years so WHY NOT get them to take care of you.???
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:19 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Butterscotch
Nobody cares about you if you don't have any money. Everyone is in it for money, everything is written off as a 'business desicion'. In the end it's only the cash that counts.
You must be American.

Private hospitals are creepy. I worked in one for a while, and I used to wonder if that was what it was like across the board in the US. Actually, forget creepy; it's downright disturbing. I dont think I could explain it so anyone from the US understands, as you have grown up with it and it is all you know.

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